Saturday, 10 May 2014

The Joys of Hot Season

N’Djamena has been reported as being one of the hottest cities in the world. The height of hot season has just been upon us here and the temperatures continue to daily reach the mid to high 40’s, and even occasionally cross the 50c line, it is not my favourite time of the year here. While I await spontaneous combustion to finally take me, or to melt into a pool of sweat, it is very easy to let the misery take over. A few weeks into this, however, enough is enough. I have decided that now is the time to think positive. And so, here we are, the positives sides of hot season (may need to get creative!)…..

1.    Top reason- hot season brings with it mango season. The huge, sweet juicy fruits offer a source of much delight and creative spirit as the team here come up with 101 different thing to do with a mango: Mango crumble, mango ice cream, mango just as mango, mango chutney… Any more ideas or suggestions are welcome...

Mangoes, even bigger than cats!

2. Hot season provides the ultimate extreme de- tox experience for the whole body as you drink litres and litres and litres, to then loose it all again through your pores. Plus, the frequent hot sandstorms that blow through can provide an incredibly intense, and occasionally painful, exfoliation!

3. Opening the fridge is always a surprise, finding a computer battery and perhaps a collection of candles, amongst bottles of luke warm water and wilting vegetables

4 . Speaking of candles, take them out of the fridge and you can make your own piece of modern art

5. And speaking of the fridge, err, trying to think of something positive to say about it in hot season… Oh yes, new experiences. I now find myself on a daily basis doing something I had never before considered necessary to do- watering my fridge!

6.  And should, on your way to the fridge with a bowl of water, you accidently tip the bowl over flooding the kitchen (or happily, soaking yourself), fear not. Don’t waste precious energy by clearing it up, give it 5 minutes and the floor (or yourself, excluding the sweat) will once more be as dry as bone. Being dry and crispy is true, not only of clothes and water spillages, but also for fruit and vegetables; they do not rot, they dry. So too for a poor deceased frog I found while clearing out a store room!


7. You also see things you never considered possible, like melting solar panels. Surely solar panels should be ok in the heat, being designed to be put in the sun and all? But not the Chadian sun. I’ve been through 2 solar panels so far this year and the solar run traffic lights in town were out of order for some weeks while the melted panels were replaced (not that it had any impact on the driving conditions!)

8. Costs of running a gas cooker are reduced- for cooking and baking, chocolate and butter come ready melted and water boiled 12 hours previously remains hot enough to brew a cup of tea with. (Yes, it may be 40 plus degrees, but there is always a place for a cup of tea!)

9. Sleeping under the stars is a daily routine to escape the heat that the house walls have absorbed during the day and continue to radiate back into the house during the night. (Either that, or, as I did when I was doing language learning in town and couldn’t sleep outside due to rats the size of small dogs, preparing to go to bed involved many steps to achieve a level of coolness compatible with sleep- spray bed, shower, put on pyjamas, clean teeth, spray bed again, shower with pjs on, soak towel in water, spray bed again, lay on wet bed in wet pjs, cover in wet towel, direct fan straight on to you- fine for around 30 minutes until towel dry and then try to ignore the increasing sweating until it becomes unbearable and start the process again!)

My Outdoor Bedroom- Minimalistic, but Ventilated

10. I now have a new found respect and appreciation for that everyday commodity that is salt. Ignoring all those messages about reduce salt intake I heard, and even gave before leaving the UK, here I add it to everything I eat and at least once a day, half a teaspoon to my juice in a desperate attempt to replace some the salt lost through excessive sweating.

So there we are, a whole 10 positives of hot season! But to finish off, here is a bonus positive of hot season:

When it all gets too much, the heat is overwhelming, everything you touch is hot, all energy is sapped and the numbers on the thermometer read 50.1c there is always the hope that maybe, just maybe, this will be the hottest I will ever have to be again, and from this moment on, it will always be just that tiny bit cooler!

Its not clear, but here is proof that it does actually get above 50c outside while it is a balmy 39.6c in my lounge. 

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